Jazz shakes a slow start to defeat the Clippers

FILE – Donovan Mitchell # 45 and Royce O’Neale # 23 of the Utah Jazz react after a three-point game in Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round Playoffs against the Los Angeles Clippers at Vivint Smart Home Arena on June 8, 2021 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Alex Goodlett / Getty Images / AFP

Donovan Mitchell scored 32 of his 45 points in the second half as the Utah Jazz rallied to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 112-109 on Tuesday night in Salt Lake City to take a 1-0 lead in the semi-finals of the Western Conference.

After the Jazz made a big comeback in the second half to take a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter – after trailing as far as 14 – the Clippers rallied late to put themselves in a position to force overtime.

Utah’s defense denied them this opportunity, however. Rudy Gobert, the favorite to win a third defensive player of the year title in the playoffs, blocked Marcus Morris’ 3-point attempt in the last second after the Jazz’s defense kept Kawhi Leonard and Paul George out of the game. have a good overview in the last 15.

The Jazz took the series lead early despite the absence of All-Star point guard Mike Conley, who was sidelined with a strained left hamstring.

Along with Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson helped take over the offensive with 18 points each. Joe Ingles added eight points with seven assists, while Mitchell also distributed five cents.

Leonard led the Clippers with 23 points and George added 20, but neither player shot well as Leonard only managed 9 of 19 shots while George went 4-for-17. Luke Kennard played a big role in helping LA stay in this game despite his stars not shining as bright as usual.

The Jazz have had six days off since their 4-1 loss to the Grizzlies in the first round, and they have looked rusty for much of the first half. Meanwhile, the Clippers were only two days away from an emotion Match 7 win over the Dallas Mavericks, and they came out strong in the first two quarters.

With Jazz Minority owner Dwyane Wade giving him directions from the front row, Mitchell exploded in the third quarter to help Utah turn the tide after the Clippers took a 60-47 lead to the half time. Mitchell scored 16 points in the quarter, including the Jazz’s first 10 points, and helped Utah regain the lead to 72-71 on a quick break with an assist to Royce O’Neale.

The Jazz used a straight 3 from Mitchell and Clarkson to take a six-point lead in the fourth quarter, ultimately taking it to 10.

The start of this series started as bizarre as the Clippers’ last series in which the home teams lost the first six games. Utah jumped on a 10-2 run and looked to be doing well without Conley. It didn’t last long, however. The Jazz suffered a prolonged drought as the Clippers went on a 22-2 streak to move up 24-12.

Utah ended up trailing 25-18 late in the first quarter after making just 5 of 28 shots.

The Clippers kept the pressure on in the second quarter, taking a 60-47 halftime lead with sizzling shots from beyond the arc (11-for-23). LA held that big advantage despite a combined 3 of 13 shooting half by George and Leonard.

Kennard led the Clippers in scoring in the first half with 11 points as the visitors’ bench gave the team a huge boost.

Gobert finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks, including the game saver.

Field-level media

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